Peaceful and aware, Axel Kahn, a French physician, geneticist and essayist, died of cancer at the age of 76. This was announced by the League against Cancer, of which he had been president since June 2019. But he himself had already spoken several times about death, which “doesn’t scare me” and “He’ll have me with a little wry smile on his lips.”
Kahn had moved France by recounting her illness and sharing the prospect of a near death. “Life has an end,” he wrote on Twitter on June 1st.
“A rich and beautiful life has a conclusion that is part of it, like the final punctuation of a good story“. The end, for him, was “a blazing twilight after so many bluish auroras.”
Life has an end. Never begin to live in dispensation. A rich and beautiful life has an outcome that is part of it, like the final punctuation of a beautiful story. It can even be its significant illumination. A blazing twilight after so many bluish aurorae.
– Axel Kahn (@axelkahn) June 1, 2021
Born on 5 September 1944 in Touraine, son of the philosopher Jean Kahn-Dessertenne and brother of the journalist Jean-François Kahn, Axel Kahn was also father of four children. In addition to his commitment to the National Cancer League, he has held the positions of Research Director at theInserm (French National Institute for Health Research and Medicine), director of theCochin Institute and as president of the Paris Descartes.
Genetic Disease Specialist, has been involved in liver cancer and gene therapy. In parallel with his research activities, he worked in the hospital until 1992. His work and his passion for ethics and philosophy led him to write nearly 600 articles in international journals and numerous books, such as And the man in all of that? Or, more recently, And the good in all this?, his thirtieth book.
“I’ll die soon,” he wrote on Facebook. «Any curative therapy is now impossible. It can only reduce the pain reasonably. But I am as I hoped: totally serene. I smile when my medical colleagues ask me if an anxiolytic would give me relief. I feel no anxiety, no hope – I continue to exclude the hypothesis of a good god – nor anguish. A certain relief, rather (…). My work was very busy, I couldn’t do more. I went from the presidency of a National Cancer League meeting in the morning to the operating room in the afternoon. Almost ideal. So, smiling and calm, I say goodbye, dear friends. Axel Kahn ».